Hard White Stuff In Soil

Q: I have this white stuff that is hard, like dried glue, in my pine straw and soil. In places, it has penetrated between the roots of my plants and I can’t get it out.

A: You are witnessing the natural transition of organic matter to humus. Unlike plants, fungi do not have roots: They rely on white, threadlike hyphae to digest organic material and release the nutrients it contains. A mass of hyphae is called mycelia or a mycelial mat, which is what you see in your straw. The white hyphae don’t normally attack healthy plant roots. Even so, I would rake away the straw over the mycelial mat and let it dry out. It will gradually disappear.

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